Tuesday, September 27, 2011

spaghetti squash

I've seen this veggie roaming around blogland lately. Until last week I had never eaten it or even seen it before in my life. It just so happened that it was on sale a few weeks ago in our local grocery store and I decided to venture out and give it a try.

Guess what? I'm in love and will DEFINITELY make it again.

Here's what you do:

1. Cut this bad boy in half. It looks like a pumpkin on the inside so scrap out the seeds and stringy things.

2. Wrap each half in saran wrap and pop each half in the microwave for 6 minutes.

3. Unwrap the squash and take a fork and scrape it out. The insides will be spaghetti like.

We served it with our favorite sauce - grandma's homemade spaghetti sauce:

1 onion
1 green pepper
1 celery stalk
1 Tbs. minced garlic
3-4 Tbs. olive oil
2 lbs. ground hamburger
2 Tbs. Italian seasoning
8 - 15oz cans of tomato sauce
3 - 6oz cans of tomato paste

1. Cook meat in skillet with Italian seasoning.
2. Add onion, green pepper, celery, garlic, and oil.
3. Once cooked thoroughly place in large pot with sauce and paste.
4. Cook all afternoon.

Makes about 6 quarts

Try something new and give it a try!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

hanging files

This is a project I did for Kierste's Back to Basics party!

I have to admit my heart went pitter patter when I first found out she wanted me to post about back to school. I used to be a 2nd grade teacher and I secretly {heart} all things school related. The new clothes, school supplies, backpacks, classroom decorations, etc. all get me a little giddy this time of year!

But from my teaching turned mommy perspective I now know about all the PAPERS sent home (and my little one is only in preschool) - there's newsletters and book orders and worksheets and fundraisers and more book orders - what the heck do you do with all of them???!!!

Here's the solution. Or just my solution ;)

I {heart} Goodwill. Cheap. Good prices. Returnable. My mom is also a fan so when we get together complete with my grandma in tow- we're a force to be reckoned with. Here's the goodie I found last time we went -

This past trip I managed to snap these babies up for 99 cents. What are they? Hanging file holders.

So you didn't just happen to run across these as well...no worries - you can probably find them just about anywhere - Walmart, Staples, online, etc.

I took those bad boys and some trusty brown spray paint and went to town! I used my handy dandy silhouette to cut a vinyl initial and tada - everyone in our family now has their own file holder on the wall.

Gone are the days of papers strewn across the countertops or just a huge neat stack of papers in a corner in the kitchen. When the backpack/mail/anything comes home the sorting begins - some goes in the trash, their own papers go in their holder, ones mommy and daddy need go in ours. Keeps everything and everyone organized and the papers and mess to a minimum.

Hopefully our new set up will help my little kids participate in keeping our house more organized and maybe now mommy will be better able to keep track of all those school papers!

enjoy ~


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's well over 1/2 way through the year and I made one New Year's Resolution -
find balance & moderation in my life.

In my quest for finding {moderation in all things} one of the changes I've made has been to stop faithfully following Weight Watchers. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE Weight Watchers and it has helped me lose 20lbs three different times in my life. But since I've been in a maintenance phase regarding my weight for the past year I've decided to tuck it all away for now and just follow and trust my instincts. I was getting way too obsessed and I realized I didn't need it any more to keep my weight. I know how to eat, I know what's healthy, and I really don't need to track or count points or follow a 'program' at this point in my life. Will I use Weight Watcher's again? Who knows? Maybe after I have another baby and am trying to lose that baby weight. Maybe I won't need it at all. But for now, I'm trying to have enough confidence in myself that I can do it all on my own.

Part of maintaining a healthy weight for me is to be aware of my body and what I'm eating. I try to find {moderation} in all the different foods I choose to put in my body. Here are what my typical dinners {try} to include: 1/2 plate full of veggies, 1/4 lean protein, 1/4 carb. Does it ALWAYS look this way? No. But this is what I aim for.

In the summer we do A LOT of grilling. Here's what dinner looked like on this particular night - 1/2 large baked potato, a skewer of marinated chicken, a couple of skewers of peppers, onions, mushrooms, and zucchini. A nice balanced plate full of healthy yet delicious foods!


Monday, September 12, 2011

stir fry

Now that the weather is starting to cool down my oven & stove have been getting a little more use. Although I absolutely love watermelon, cold salads, and the grill I'm actually kind of excited for the crisp cool air, hot bread out of the oven, and warm soups.

Here's a pretty simple and basic dinner we had the other night. I love stir fry's because they are an easy and yummy way to have a dinner jam packed with veggies. I try to make sure our dinners include these 3: a lean protien, veggies, and a carb. This one fit the bill perfectly!

I found the recipe at Annie's Eats - go over and check out all her other yummy goodies!

Stir-Fried Shrimp with Snow Peas and Mushrooms


2 tsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. dry sherry (I used white cooking wine)

2 tsp. water

4 tsp. peanut oil (I only used about 2)

1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined (I only used about 1/2)

1 Tbs. peeled and minced fresh ginger (I used dried)

1 small garlic clove, minced

1 package fresh snow peas

1/2 lb. fresh shiitake mushrooms, brushed clean, stems removed and caps cut into 1” pieces

1/4 cup chicken stock

1/4 tsp. Asian sesame oil

1/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

(I added 1/2 an onion and a can of water chestnuts)


1. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch, sherry and water. Set aside.

2. Preheat a wok or deep, heavy fry pan over high heat. Add 2 tsp. of the peanut oil and carefully tilt and rotate the pan to distribute the oil. When the oil is hot, add the shrimp and stir-fry until they are bright pink but not yet cooked through, about 3 minutes. Do not overcook them. Transfer to a plate.

3. Return the pan to high heat. Drizzle in the remaining 2 tsp. peanut oil, tilting the pan to coat the bottom and sides with the oil. Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

4. Add the snow peas and mushrooms and return the shrimp to the pan. Stir-fry until the snow peas are bright green, 30 to 60 seconds.

5. Pour in the stock and cook until the shrimp are opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes more.

6. Briefly stir the cornstarch mixture to recombine, then pour it into the pan. Stir-fry until the sauce thickens and turns clear, about 2 minutes.

7. Add the sesame oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and serve immediately.